Top Ways to Have a Birthday
All around the world, birthdays are celebrated with all kinds of traditions. Some don’t celebrate birthdays at all. But of those that do, surely Norfolk Island's birthday celebrations are some of the most amazing.
Having reached the age of 8, children are expected to engage in more elaborate birthday activities. In keeping with their convict past, these festivities usually follow the theme of initiations or rites of passage that focus on “escape”. This translates into the birthday boy or girl having to prove themselves worthy by getting their ticket of leave.
Rituals can include, greasing up the body in Islander goose fat and (to the raucous cheers of the birthday gathering) getting the 'escapee' to scale a 6-foot pole.
Or, if that's too tough, the 'birthdayer' can wade through a pool full of molasses. Oh, they can even invite a friend to come through too.
Another great tradition is for family and friends to join the birthdayer in a big circle and attempt to blow the candles out on the cake in the middle. Invariably, this becomes an almighty spitting match. Yet, despite all the slobber and whether the candles go out or not, the cake still gets eaten anyway.
Present giving can vary from genuine gifts of value through to nothing but packaging wrapped in multiple layers around a cut lunch.
Then, there are the usual birthday signs of affection ranging from kicks and pinches through to kisses and cuddles (exaggerated kisses between older blokes usually earns the most laughter).
But, perhaps the strangest birthday celebration the people of Norfolk Island enjoy involves having dogs pull the birthday person along on a buggy, roller skates, or a skateboard. Nobody knows where this tradition came from, and there are concerns about animal welfare. But it still happens often enough.
So there you have it. Some of the strangest birthday traditions happen on the mysterious Island of Norfolk. If you want to get involved chances are you'll be welcome. Just be prepared to have your leg pulled a lot when you get there (because that’s a popular tradition too).